Virginia’s Republican Loyalty Pledge Doesn’t Go Far Enough

If Virginia closed their Party nomination primary elections to the registered voters of each Party, there would be no need for a “loyalty pledge”

Bookmark and Share   Virginia recently sparked a mild uproar when it’s state Board of Elections approved a Republican proposal that would require voters who want to participate in the Republican presidential primary, must sign a non-binding pledge to the Republican presidential nominee.

The pledge reads as follows;

“I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president.” 

Many have been offended by the required pledge.  Its critics claim the pledge essentially requires primary voters to in some cases, commit to a candidate they’re not yet familiar with and they argue that the pledge is a concept which is far removed from what our nation’s founders intended.

While those points may initially sound good, they fail to actually hold any water.

As far as the concern about being possibly committed to a candidate that a voter may not be familiar with, the pledge simply and clearly states “intend to vote for” the Republican nominee.  By its very meaning, the word ‘intend’, allows for exceptions.  So if all of America lost its mind at the same time and Ron Paul became the Republican presidential nominee, I will have still met the requirements of the pledge because it is in fact my “intention” to vote for the Republican presidential candidate but seeing as how Ron Paul is no Republican and that his foreign and defense policies are extremely dangerous and reckless, I will not be able to carry out my voting intentions.

As for the intentions of our Founding Fathers, the men of that time considered political parties to be factions that were harmful to our national unity.

 In Federalist Paper Number Ten, James Madison denounced political parties by claiming “The public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties”. George Washington also warned against the creation of political parties in his farewell address when referred to political parties as being “baneful,”.
Those statements have a degree of undeniable truth in them.  But not to those who view party affiliation more with ideology that political allegiance.  Some of us out there, are Republican because we believe that the principles which it is based upon are best for the nation, not some political organization.
While I find it hard to argue against our Founding Fathers, I do disagree with the amount of blame that many of them place on the concept of political parties.  If you define political parties as institutions comprised of people adhering to a core set of principles and way of thinking that they believe is best for the nation, then political parties are not the sources of national destruction that many founding father’s warned us of.    And it is by that definition that this Virginia pledge is born. 
The way I see it, it is not the political parties which disregard the public good, it is the party bosses which the public allows to take control of the parties which are responsible for many of our ills.  That view puts the blame back on to the public, not the political parties. 
Most of the pop culture dominated electorate is more concerned with keeping up with the Kardashians than they are with the Democratic or Libertarian Party platforms, and most of the electorate does not take their civic responsibilities as seriously as they should and actually need to.  Few voters are even aware of the fact that they are given the power to elect their local party precinct leaders and that these local leaders elect their county leaders, and they in turn elect the state leaders and state committeemen who go on to elect the party’s national chairmen.
Instead, so many voters are ignorant of this process that the original election ballots which give them the opportunity to vote for sincere minded local Party officials who share their beliefs, go blank.  That then allows the Party bosses to fill the vacancies and they do so with individuals who are committed to follow the lead of those who appoint them.
That is where the positive effect of political parties begins to breakdown. 
But in the case of a primary, when the average voted does have the opportunity to pick from a slate of candidates who want  a Party’s nomination, the average voter is again given the chance to take control of the process.  And that brings us to the Virginia presidential primary.
Virginia is an open primary.  It is a sad and sorry contest that allows liberals to choose the candidate they want to see representing conservatives and vise versa.  This is what led to the creation of this controversial pledge.
The pledge was designed to cut down on the number of people who would prefer to play politics and exploit the opportunity of an open primary contest by trying to crossover and see to it that the weakest candidate represents the Party that they oppose.
In other words, this “loyalty pledge” seeks to make it clear that the democratic voting process is not a joke and that the right to vote is a serious responsibility, not a tool to be used to hijack the opposition with.  The hope is that  if a they have to sign a pledge that specifically commits them to the ideology of the Party they are trying to shape, than maybe it will deter some of those who want to play games with their vote from actually going through with their shallow conduct and deceptive voting practices.
Unfortunately, sincerity in politics is rare, and that goes not only for the politicians who most voters see as unscrupulous game players, but for the voters who also do not take their civic responsibility as seriously as they should and who lack a great degree of conviction.  It is for that reason that I believe this Virginia pledge will not make much of a difference.  Too many do not view their vote as sacrosanct as they should and too few have the sincere desire to make and keep a committment when it comes to politics.
So while I support the intent behind the pledge, I believe the actual pledge falls far short of accomplishing what it is designed to.
Instead, Virginia should look at the problem which created the need for this feeble solution of a pledge and get rid of their useless and senseless open primary system which allows opposing ideologies to select the nominees of the parties they oppose.  That would help avoid the need for asking voters to take a pledge and avoid the added costs of that additional step.  It would also avoid some of the negative influences that pollute the nomination process. 
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Bachmann, Lincoln Agree: Founders Opposed Slavery

George Stephanopolous probably thinks he’s a pretty smart guy.  At least he didn’t call Michelle Bachmann a flake.  But his attack on her facts about our founders just might backfire against his own credibility.

For most, it really is no secret that many of our founding fathers did oppose slavery.  Even the ones who owned slaves saw it as more of a necessary evil.  To borrow from Hillary Clinton, who said this about abortion, they believed it was “horrible and tragic, but should be safe and legal”.  They understood though, that if they tried to fight the revolutionary war and civil war at the same time, they would lose both.  Still, they did fight to end slavery, even if only laying the groundwork for it’s final elimination.

John McCormack, writing in the Weekly Standard, is now demonstrating that Abraham Lincoln believed the same thing as Michelle Bachmann about our founder’s work to end slavery.  He used that argument in his own speeches against slavery.

From the article:

“The Founders put slavery on the path to ultimate extinction, Abraham Lincoln said. But the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 threatened to bring about slavery’s resurgence by opening up new territories to slaveowning. In 1854, Lincoln made this argument in a series of speeches on behalf of candidates opposed to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. “In these addresses Lincoln set forth the themes that he would carry into the presidency six years later,” writes Princeton’s James M. McPherson in the Battle Cry of Freedom. McPherson summarizes Lincoln’s argument:

The founding fathers, said Lincoln, had opposed slavery. They adopted a Declaration of Independence that pronounced all men created equal. They enacted the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 banning slavery from the vast Northwest Territory. To be sure, many of the founders owned slaves. But they asserted their hostility to slavery in principle while tolerating it temporarily (as they hoped) in practice. That was why they did not mention the words “slave” or “slavery” in the Constitution, but referred only to “persons held to service.” “Thus, the thing is hid away, in the constitution,” said Lincoln, “just as an afflicted man hides away a wen or a cancer, which he dares not cut out at once, lest he bleed to death; with the promise, nevertheless, that the cutting may begin at the end of a given time.” The first step was to prevent the spread of this cancer, which the fathers took with the Northwest Ordinance, the prohibition of the African slave trade in 1807, and the Missouri Compromise restriction of 1820. The second was to begin a process of gradual emancipation, which the generation of the fathers had accomplished in the states north of Maryland.

Here’s what Lincoln said of the Founding Fathers in his 1854 Peoria speech:

The argument of “Necessity” was the only argument they ever admitted in favor of slavery; and so far, and so far only as it carried them, did they ever go. They found the institution existing among us, which they could not help; and they cast blame upon the British King for having permitted its introduction. BEFORE the constitution, they prohibited its introduction into the north-western Territory—-the only country we owned, then free from it. AT the framing and adoption of the constitution, they forbore to so much as mention the word “slave” or “slavery” in the whole instrument. In the provision for the recovery of fugitives, the slave is spoken of as a “PERSON HELD TO SERVICE OR LABOR.” In that prohibiting the abolition of the African slave trade for twenty years, that trade is spoken of as “The migration or importation of such persons as any of the States NOW EXISTING, shall think proper to admit,” &c. These are the only provisions alluding to slavery. Thus, the thing is hid away, in the constitution, just as an afflicted man hides away a wen or a cancer, which he dares not cut out at once, lest he bleed to death; with the promise, nevertheless, that the cutting may begin at the end of a given time. Less than this our fathers COULD not do; and NOW [MORE?] they WOULD not do. Necessity drove them so far, and farther, they would not go. But this is not all. The earliest Congress, under the constitution, took the same view of slavery. They hedged and hemmed it in to the narrowest limits of necessity.

In 1794, they prohibited an out-going slave-trade—-that is, the taking of slaves FROM the United States to sell.

In 1798, they prohibited the bringing of slaves from Africa, INTO the Mississippi Territory—-this territory then comprising what are now the States of Mississippi and Alabama. This was TEN YEARS before they had the authority to do the same thing as to the States existing at the adoption of the constitution.

In 1800 they prohibited AMERICAN CITIZENS from trading in slaves between foreign countries—-as, for instance, from Africa to Brazil.

In 1803 they passed a law in aid of one or two State laws, in restraint of the internal slave trade.

In 1807, in apparent hot haste, they passed the law, nearly a year in advance to take effect the first day of 1808—-the very first day the constitution would permit—-prohibiting the African slave trade by heavy pecuniary and corporal penalties.

In 1820, finding these provisions ineffectual, they declared the trade piracy, and annexed to it, the extreme penalty of death. While all this was passing in the general government, five or six of the original slave States had adopted systems of gradual emancipation; and by which the institution was rapidly becoming extinct within these limits.

Thus we see, the plain unmistakable spirit of that age, towards slavery, was hostility to the PRINCIPLE, and toleration, ONLY BY NECESSITY.

In Lincoln’s famous 1860 Cooper Union speech, he noted that of the 39 framers of the Constitution, 22 had voted on the question of banning slavery in the new territories. Twenty of the 22 voted to ban it, while another one of the Constitution’s framers—George Washington—signed into law legislation enforcing the Northwest Ordinance that banned slavery in the Northwest Territories. At Cooper Union, Lincoln also quoted Thomas Jefferson, who had argued in favor of Virginia emancipation: “It is still in our power to direct the process of emancipation, and deportation, peaceably, and in such slow degrees, as that the evil will wear off insensibly….””


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